Gay marriage not a civil right

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The opinion column of June 17 told us we ought to be proud this year because of all the advances made by gays in the courts. If circumvention of the Constitution by courts to give advantage to special interest groups is something to be proud of, then we certainly should be. But by accepting those judgments, we are squandering civil rights.

Gay marriage is not a civil right. If gays were prohibited from entering into heterosexual marriage, then they could claim a civil rights issue. But that opportunity is available to everybody regardless of color, religion, sex and sexual orientation. Gays will argue that that is not the point. They say homosexual couples are denied access to an institution granted to heterosexual couples by our government. That is where people who do not understand the Constitution or civil rights get fooled.

Civil rights do not guarantee everybody gets their way. Civil rights are opportunities, not the choices you make when you have opportunity. They only guarantee freedoms as far as they do not interfere with other people's opportunities, and they guarantee a voice and a vote when we have to make a choice that we all do not agree on. Courts cannot make gay marriage a law contrary to the vote without violating civil rights. Further, by vote, marriage was chosen to be man and woman. Gays choose same sex. You can't choose one way and demand the benefits of another.

Gays will argue that the court did not make gay marriage the law; it was always the intent of the marriage laws, evidenced by the fact that they did not specify gender. That is incorrect. Marriage laws did not specify gender because homosexual acts used to be illegal. Therefore, marriage could only mean man and woman. When the Supreme Court made homosexual acts legal, marriage laws were left hanging.

Gays have no more right to impose their definition of marriage on us than churches do. We need a constitutional amendment to clarify, one way or the other, what we mean by our laws so judges can serve us better. We need to vote to ensure everybody's civil rights are observed. And we need to quit messing with the true meaning of civil rights so the people with real civil rights issues can get a fair deal.

I cannot wait to see what title the Empire chooses for this letter.

Kurt Cox

Juneau



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